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Commentary: Shiny bubbles and new beginnings

A younger me, on the left, thinks about things that consumed me at that age, such as the rainbow bubbles of my elementary school. An older me, on the right, thinks about all the things that currently consume me, such as how fast time is flying, college and Archer traditions. Growing up has hit me with a newfound sense of nostalgia. Graphic Illustration by Uma Nambiar.

I still remember the feeling of the whistling rush of wind flying past my ear as I swung on the cerulean blue swing of my backyard playset. The sky was cloudless, the sun warmed my skin, the air smelled like watermelons and guava and I did not have a fear in the world.

There was no need for fear. I only felt happiness; myself at 6 years old could be placated just by watching “My Little Pony” or having a sugary lick of an orange creamsicle-flavored lollipop.

But, before I knew it, the time came for me to start kindergarten. There was no more swinging on my playset constantly or eating lollipops in the middle of a random Wednesday.

As I walked inside my elementary school for the very first time, holding my mom’s hand and carrying my pink pony-patterned backpack on my shoulder, I felt a new, ominous and foreign sensation: fear. Everything was different, big and bright. But, I noticed that there were other kids around me looking like they felt the same way. They were also holding their parents’ hands, eyes wide filled with fear.

I felt better knowing I was not alone. As I started to feel a little more excited, my eyes traveled around my new school, landing on a bridge above me. Teachers stood on the bridge, blowing bubbles to welcome everyone. Soapy, rainbow spheres floated throughout the sky, bringing a sense of magic to the day. I soon learned blowing bubbles was a tradition my school had on the first day of every school year. This tradition resonated with me — it reminded me that there was always joy in starting something new.

I looked forward to that day every single year — it was a moment for me to reset and get ready for the year ahead of me. It grounded me. Time flew by, and suddenly I was in sixth grade, which for me, was the last year of elementary school. As I watched the bubbles float down for the last time, a pang of nostalgia hit me. Those small bulbs of soapy rainbows once represented a time of new beginnings, and now they resembled something closer to an ending.

As I progressed to middle school, I felt like I was repeating the process all over again: backpack on my shoulder, entering a place that was new to me, and yes: feeling fear. Except my backpack was now a solid color, and the new place was much bigger than my elementary school.

I was growing up. It was scary at first, but it turned out okay, and the fear quickly subsided. I made friends who told me they felt scared too, learned how to study and told myself that no matter what, I would be safe.

Ninth grade started. It felt like a whole new era: I grew out my hair, started rolling up my skirt and even wore some eyeliner. I was a high schooler for the very first time. I felt grown up and important. I felt like I had a purpose.

In tenth grade, I resumed the study habits I had previously gained freshman year. I felt happy, excited and mature. I was finally doing it — I was becoming a successful high schooler.

But no one, and I truly mean no one, could have prepared me for the feeling of ending my junior year. It is ten times the magnitude of what I felt when I saw the bubbles drifting from the bridge for the last time, as it means I’m ending a chapter in my life. Ending junior year means adulthood is encroaching. It means it is time to get serious about college. It means my childhood is almost over.

When people say time flies fast…listen to them. I did not, and now it is hitting me hard. Make sure to savor every moment possible, because as I watch the seniors get ready to leave for college, set up the Maypole and say their goodbyes, I feel fear again. The truth is, I’m only one year younger than they are. Next year, I will be setting up the Maypole. I will be going to college, and I will be saying my goodbyes to Archer, my fluffy white dog, The Oracle and my family.

But, I know I will be okay. All I have to do is remember the comforting, rainbow shine of those elementary school bubbles, and I will instantly be reminded that starting anew is a process in life that everybody goes through multiple times.

Each new year of bubbles and each new backpack represented a chapter in my life that had ended, but also a new one that was just beginning. And, as I enter my final year of high school in the fall, I will remember to savor every moment and embrace growing up. Carpe diem, right?

To everyone else out there: don’t worry about growing up and experiencing new things. Yes, it is scary. But it is perfectly normal, so know that you will be just fine. Remember – every teenager out there is going through the same thing. My twin is, my friends are and people I don’t even know are. We are in this together.

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About the Contributor
Uma Nambiar
Uma Nambiar, Staff Reporter
Uma Nambiar joined the Oracle in 2023 as a Staff Reporter. She is an avid reader and writer as well as being in the Unaccompanied Minors, Archer's acapella group. In her free time, you can find Uma reading, writing, and obsessing over rom-coms.

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